Video Key in the Evolution of Rugby at Tauranga Boys’ College


To com­pete at the top end of high school rug­by in New Zealand, Tauranga Boys’ College have recent­ly intro­duced video analy­sis to enhance play­er devel­op­ment and game under­stand­ing with­in their squad. 

Read on to learn how video is becom­ing an essen­tial tool for this tra­di­tion­al­ly suc­cess­ful rug­by school.


Tauranga Boys’ College 1st XV play in the Super 8 com­pe­ti­tion — one of the high­est lev­els of school­boy rug­by in New Zealand com­posed of eight of strongest high schools in the North Island.

Tauranga have recent­ly imple­ment­ed video analy­sis into their prepa­ra­tions for match­es and although self-analy­sis through video was ini­tial­ly daunt­ing, it has quick­ly been accept­ed by play­ers as a key tool for improvement.

The key for Tauranga’s coach Richard Apanui in intro­duc­ing video, was to make his play­ers realise that it’s a tool to improve their per­for­mance and then to deliv­er analy­sis in a com­fort­able environment.

It was quite con­fronting the first time, espe­cial­ly when you see your­self miss­ing tack­les and goals,” said Apanui.

It can still be con­fronting for the boys when they’re start­ing out with it. We’re here to make mis­takes and we can improve on them together.”

Apanui realised the effec­tive­ness of video after being part of a pro­fes­sion­al set­up for Southland, along­side sev­er­al years of expe­ri­ence play­ing in France and Japan.

From his exten­sive expe­ri­ence in pro­fes­sion­al envi­ron­ments, Apanui says, Video is con­crete evi­dence, as you think you’re doing one thing but you’re actu­al­ly doing another.”

For Tauranga Boys’, video analy­sis more than just about help­ing play­ers devel­op their game skills, it also adds an abil­i­ty to make pre­sen­ta­tions to a group with confidence.

We have a wide range of boys with var­i­ous skills and get­ting up and talk­ing in front of a group helps them build con­fi­dence,” says Apanui.

When you break some­thing down in video for them, that builds con­fi­dence on the field. They rec­og­nize where the per­fect oppor­tu­ni­ty for a move is since they’ve seen it, lived it through video and can have the con­fi­dence to play it out.”

When you break some­thing down in video for them, that builds con­fi­dence on the field” 

Uptake of video analy­sis has been rapid for the Tauranga play­ers, with Hudl now becom­ing an essen­tial tool for the squad.

There is a mas­sive dif­fer­ence between the first ses­sion and the last ses­sion in terms of play­er con­fi­dence, the way they are around tech­nol­o­gy.” Apanui said.

With stu­dent ath­letes pri­mar­i­ly focus­ing on school­work, extra time spent on video analy­sis is at a pre­mi­um. The ease of using Hudl’s plat­form has made sure rug­by analy­sis time can be bal­anced with the boys’ studies.

We try to max­imise our time with the boys and our objec­tive is to not pull them out of their class­es,” said Apanui.


Want to learn how North Harbour Rugby Union iden­ti­fy and devel­op their young tal­ent through video analy­sis? Click here.


Tauranga’s coach­es are also sav­ing hours of time in cut­ting up and analysing game footage, mak­ing sure it is avail­able for view­ing by the play­ers the day after a match takes place. 

The game can be cut into clips on the bus by coach­es on the way back from a fix­ture using Sportscode, then mes­sages are sent out to groups to focus on cer­tain areas depend­ing on position.

Before their first train­ing ses­sion on the Tuesday, the boys have already watched the game and done their analysis.

With Hudl, the boys can cut indi­vid­ual clips of them­selves and they are not just spend­ing all their time train­ing with us,” said Apanui.

They spend half of that time watch­ing video, mak­ing clips and talk­ing about them which has gained a lot of time for us.”

Be a role mod­el for the play­ers, show them what’s required, show them that it’s ok to make mistakes” 

Following the suc­cess of the school’s rug­by pro­gram using Hudl, the school have been impressed with the results and are start­ing to expand the use video to dif­fer­ent sport­ing codes.

The school is also help­ing oth­er sports find great val­ue in video,” states Apanui.

The school’s vol­ley­ball team has also start­ed using it and with these teams talk­ing to oth­er sports teams about it, the inter­est and accep­tance across sports is expect­ed to increase.” 

Based on his expe­ri­ence with video, Richard Apanui has advice for young coach­es who might be inter­est­ed in imple­ment­ing video analy­sis for their players. 

Be a role mod­el for the play­ers, show them what’s required, show them that it’s ok to make mis­takes,” Apanui explained.

Start with a sim­ple task and see it grow from there.”

To learn more about how Hudl uses ana­lyt­ics to fuel rug­by in the mod­ern era, take a look at how North Harbour Rugby Union use video at all lev­els of rug­by in their region, and also how Top 14 Rugby’s Stade Rochelais are using cut­ting-edge video tech­nol­o­gy to stay ahead of the game.